- Ellidy Puttin had a baby she'd conceived using the sperm of late husband, an Olympic champion.
- She's said the pair had been trying to conceive before his sudden death in a freediving accident.
- Posthumous sperm retrieval is only possible in some locations under certain conditions.
Ellidy Pullin welcomed a baby girl Monday - 15 months after her late husband, Australian Olympian Alex "Chumpy" Pullin, died in a speardiving accident, she announced Thursday on Instagram.
The baby, named Minnie Alex, was conceived via IVF using sperm that had been retrieved from Chumpy immediately after his death. The procedure is legal in some places under certain conditions.
Ellidy and Chumpy had been trying to have a baby before his death in July 2020. He's believed to have died from a shallow water blackout, or a loss of consciousness after holding breath underwater too long.
Ellidy said she and Chumpy had been prepared to undergo IVF
When Ellidy announced her pregnancy on Instagram in June, she said she and Chumpy had been dreaming of a baby "for years."
"When my love had his accident, we all held onto hope that I'd be pregnant that month. We'd been trying for a baby," she wrote. "IVF was on our cards but it wasn't something I ever imagined I'd be tackling on my own."
When Ellidy didn't find out she was pregnant that month, she turned to sperm she had to "hustle" to collect right after Chumpy's death. That involved lots of signing of legal and court documents with Chumpy's parents, as well as "dealing with the coroners and the lawyers and the doctor," she said on her podcast.
It also involved going through counseling before she could proceed with IVF.
"They were asking questions like 'Are you going to tell the kid about its dad or are you not?' 'What are you going to do when it's asking [about] its dad?' 'How are you going to do pregnancy, birth and motherhood alone?' she said on the episode. "It was such a triggering process."
In December, Ellidy underwent one embryo transfer but lost it at seven weeks in January. The next transfer took. "I'm so grateful," she said.
Posthumous sperm donation is legal in some places
Posthumous sperm donation legislation varies by country and state. In Queensland, Ellidy's Australian state, it's allowed when a "designated officer" is convinced the deceased wouldn't object and when the immediate family consents.
Germany, Sweden, France, Canada, and some Australian states ban the practice.
In the US, there's no national legislation on the matter, and is up to states and institutions, according to Weill Cornell Medicine, which offers the procedure.
It only considers such requests from the deceased's wife, and requires "convincing evidence" that the man intended to have children with her. Available family member's consent matters too. The procedure must also occur within 24 hours of death and the family has to be able to pay for the freezing and storage.
Weill Cornell also "strongly encourages" women to wait a year and undergo counseling before deciding whether or not to try to get pregnant with the sperm. It says most widows decide not to use it.
Days before Minnie's birth, Ellidy posted a note she'd written to their future child soon after Chumpy's death but before her pregnancy.
"Your dad is a warrior. He is absolutely beyond this world. He will be teaching you and guiding you. I may be the portal for which you learn from him," she wrote. "We will forever be frolicking right by the sea, where we know you will be."